Hot Summer Reading

Gov. Paul Cellucci and his old friend Bob Durand popped into the Beacon Hill headquarters of the Appalachian Mountain Club earlier this year for a brief ceremony celebrating Durand’s appointment as secretary of environmental affairs. Representatives of the state’s major environmental groups were in attendance and high praise was directed the governor’s way for choosing Durand. Gov. Cellucci made brief remarks, mentioning Durand’s “marching orders” to make sure 200,000 additional acres of open space in Massachusetts will be protected over the next 10 years. The governor said he was looking forward to creating a strong environmental record, though he averred that he has no intention of reenacting his predecessor’s feat of jumping into the Charles River.

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Dave Denison

Founding Editor, CommonWealth magazine
Durand, for his part, spoke about the continuing efforts to clean up the state’s rivers and harbors and said he believes clean water is the top environmental concern of the people of Massachusetts. We expect the Secretary will find, in the coming months, a number of “top concerns.” Clean water – and during a long, hot summer, available water – is one of them. During days of “ozone alerts,” it’s clean air we worry about. Sitting in a traffic jam along a congested strip that many years ago was cow pasture, it may be land use and sprawl that seem most important. As Durand well knows, the first law of ecology is to understand that everything is connected to everything else.

Clean water, though, is one thing that free-lance writer Sara Terry knows a lot about. A few years ago she wrote a piece for the New York Times Magazine about efforts around the country to maintain safe drinking water. So we sent her off to get to know Bob Durand and report back to us. Not surprisingly, they had a lot to talk about – not just water, but about what it means to balance environmentalist ideals with economic realities. We’re happy to feature her profile of Durand in this “CommonWealth-goes-green” issue. It’s also our “CW-goes-to-the-Cape” issue. And more than anything else, we are hoping it serves as a “great-summer-reading-at-the-beach” issue. Pack up the cooler, the beach towels – you politicians will want to take along the flip-flops – and why not slip this magazine into your book bag? Also, we probably don’t need to say it, but don’t forget the sunscreen.